It’s a symbol more than anything else. My religious beliefs are uncertain. Nevertheless, I find it familiar and comforting to be there.
Today I went to church to light a candle.
I don’t really know who I’m praying to, or even if I’m praying. I don’t know if I’m talking to someone else, or to myself. Many years of therapy taught me that a lot of the work on that couch is about reminding yourself, week after week, about what your life was really about, not what you wished or imagined or hated about it. The reality of it.
I grew up in a religion that despises gay people, overlooks and undercuts women, and is full of pedophiles. I am ashamed of that church, yet I find physically being in a church extremely peaceful. Nor can I completely write off my years of religious upbringing; it instilled in me many of the morals and values I turn to today.
So when I light a candle, what am I doing? I say hello to my parents, and send them my love wherever they are. I pray that I will do the best job possible in writing this book, and that it will be a success, and that people will admire it. I think of all my friends who are unhappy, out of jobs, ill, lost: I ask that their lives improve. I thank God, or whoever, for any recent good news or successes I am enjoying, and rejoice that my life is on track, and hope that it continues that way. I pray that I might be able to pay my bills this month.
I guess I just light a candle and concentrate on what’s going on. Stop the world a minute, breathe. Consider the fact that a flame is still burning somewhere.
Light a candle.